AS THE RACE for free agent Tom Lynch's signature continues, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has revealed he personally met with Lynch earlier this year.

The Gold Coast co-captain is on the sidelines for the rest of the season after having surgery on the posterior cruciate ligament in his troublesome knee.

Collingwood, Richmond and Hawthorn are considered the frontrunners for his signature if the Victorian-born forward chooses to return home.

"I don’t think there's too many coaches who wouldn't want him," Buckley told Channel 9’s Footy Classified on Monday night.

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"I don't know what the Richmond offer is, I don't know where that stacks up against other offers. I think any club needs to consider where they think they're at, where their salary cap is at.

"Tom Lynch is a player I can see fitting into our structure really well and making us a better team. If that's an indication of our interest in him, so be it.”

Asked if he had met with Lynch personally, Buckley replied: "Yep. A while back. To be transparent, I think more clubs these days are proactive about improving their lists and about wanting to give themselves the best chance to contend, not just in this season but in seasons beyond.

"We make no apologies for being a club that wants to be as competitive as we possibly can in the future. We understand there are other clubs that are going about their business in the same manner."

Buckley also touched on out-of-contract key position player Darcy Moore, who has battled hamstring complaints this year.

Moore was a late withdrawal from Collingwood's win over North Melbourne at the weekend, and looms as an important inclusion for the team's heavyweight clash against Richmond.

"I'm in list management meetings, but I'm not heavily involved in that [contract negotiations] at all. Darcy and his management have been talking to (Collingwood list manager) Ned Guy and the club,” Buckley said.

"I believe there's been an offer on the table since before the season began, even late last year, but Darcy's been keen to get back and play some football. We understand that's still what he wants to do.

"He had a scan and it was clear, so that was a good validation, I suppose, for him. So, we expect him to train this week and he'll be doing everything he can to put his hand up for the weekend."